Networking giant Nortel Networks intends to create 900 new jobs in the UK this year under a plan to invest $64 million in its local optical systems facilities.
This latest investment adds to the $400 million that the company initially pumped into the business last November as part of its attempt to penetrate the potentially lucrative but intensely competitive optical market.
The new injection of capital is part of the $260 million that Nortel has set aside for its worldwide optical networking business, which includes the creation of an additional 2,000 jobs in two facilities in Canada and the opening of other factories worldwide.
"Our global network of optical internet system houses and people will provide us with a competitive edge in the race to build the high-performance internet," said John Roth, Nortel's president and chief executive.
The jobs created in Paignton and Monkstown, Northern Ireland, will increase Nortel's UK workforce to 9000, and will include new positions in manufacturing, engineering, supply chain management and customer service.
Nortel has also signed a cross licensing agreement with carrier infrastructure developer Tellabs for a range of optical networking technology patents such as Sonet/SDH.
Separately, BT has sold its optical research centre to engineering company Corning for $66 million. The Photonics Technology Research Centre near Ipswich is part of the telco's wider BT Labs operation which conducts research into technologies such as planar integrated optics, optical networking devices and electro-absorption modulators.
Corning is also paying $2 billion for Netoptix, which manufactures thin film filters for use in dense wave division multiplexing components.
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